The highlight of my day came early on while reading the Oregonian’s Metro section. The headline: No racial intent or race-related outfits at Cleveland High’s ‘bro vs. hipster’ theme day.
It seems that it is Spirit Week at Cleveland High school. Spirit week apparently involves dressing up in themed clothing just as I did during my high school spirit week days, but Cleveland High has a “versus” theme. For example, ninjas vs. pirates or bros vs. hipster.
It seems that some faculty (read: old people) took offense to the term “bro” feeling that it implied African American men. They were worried that it might encourage racial stereotyping. The students (read: young people) helpfully explained that, “Today’s meaning of the word bro…is no longer a term for African American men who support each other but rather connotes a young man of any race who works out a lot, likes to party and may be a fraternity member or live the beach lifestyle showcased in the reality show ‘Jersey Shore.'”
This old person noted the distinction and turned to the next page to finish reading the article and found the following photo of four students, two each modeling the bro and hipster look:
My first reaction was to laugh and think, “um, they are dressed exactly alike. They are both wearing sorts and t-shirts.” My next reaction was, “ah. I’m officially old.” If I turned on my young person vision I saw that the two groups were profoundly different. The bros were outfitted in baggy shorts, and sleeveless shirts, sunglasses and sandals. The hipsters were wearing skinny jean shorts, t-shirts with flannels and nerdy glasses. Ah.
It reminds me of a spirit week theme day my senior year (spring of 1993) when we had a theme of “early 80s day.” I was telling my Pizza Hut manager (read: old person) about the themes and when I got to that one he said, “I went to high school in the early 80s and I wore jeans and a t-shirt. How is that different from now?” I (then: young person) just shut my mouth to avoid trying to explain what my friend later put so succinctly: yes, but what kind of jeans, how tight were they, what was on your t-shirt and what shoes were you wearing?